Do Ab Rollers Work? The Answer and Results May Surprise You!

by Josh | Last Updated:  July 15, 2020
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One thing many people ask about is about a fitness tool they read about, the ab roller. What you want to know is whether it is of any benefit to your results or if it is just a tool you will buy that will sit in the garage until the day you sell it in a garage sale.

Do ab rollers work? As a workout tool in your tool bag to work on your core and abs this answer is yes, it can help you to isolate and work those muscles. The benefit to doing an ab roller workout right is the ability to target all the muscles in the core area with a full targeted workout.

So if you never have heard of an ab roller and are wondering if you should look at buying one or you want to know what the real benefits that it offers over just crunches and sit ups read on and we will help cover these questions to get you moving today! Lets jump into just what the ab roller is and how it rose to a real fitness tool.

What is an Ab Roller?

It is a pretty simple fitness tool as it is a wheel attached to two hand holds, this makes it small and easy to keep around. It isn’t useful for multiple purposes and is really built to do one thing for you which is to help remove everything but your core from working out.

Concentrated sportswoman training with ab wheel at home - post on Do Ab Rollers Work
Engaging workouts with an ab roller can be very useful

The ab wheel roller is a deceptively simple but incredibly effective exercise tool. An ab roller routine will strengthen your abdominal muscles and gradually improve flexibility.

I can say the first time my wife brought home the Perfect Fitness I saw one I was like “this looks like fun”, yeah in less that 2 minutes I was laying on the ground while my wife laughed at me for being overly eager to show how “strong” I was.

What Part of the Body Does the Ab Roller Work?

The focus of your ab roller workouts is obviously aimed at you working your rectus abdominus to build up that missing “six pack” that people strive for.

The hidden muscles you work though are also the obliques and your pecs , deltoids and lats. While most of this isn’t straight parts of your core they are all just as important, if not moreso than just your visible abs.

How Many Ab Rollers Should I Do?

When you first start out you want to balance out the starting approach to prevent any injuries and also to really gauge your fitness level. For a beginner you will want to start at around 3-5 reps per set and as many sets as you can do with correct posture.

Beautiful young woman in sportswear doing exercise with ab wheel in gym - post on Do Ab Rollers Work
Beautiful woman in sportswear doing exercise with ab wheel in a gym

As you advance then you can grow to 8-10 reps and again you are aiming to maximize out the sets based on proper form and to failure. The amount of sets will continue to increase as you put in the time and repetitions over days and months.

What Are Some Ab Roller Benefits

There are some distinct advantages to using an ab roller for your workouts as the tool is something which helps to focus your attention but also engage some additional areas more than crunches or sit ups alone.

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What Are Some Ab Roller Drawbacks

Just as there is benefits to using an ab roller you do need to weigh them against the drawbacks, either based on your health or any current or past injuries which could become worse.

Are Ab Rollers Bad For Your Back?

In general with a decent level of fitness than they are definitely not bad for your back, this story changes if you are more of a weekend warrior type who doesn’t work on fitness often.

The ab roller can expose your issues pretty fast as while you are extending out you are relying on your core and back to manage holding you steady. Should your back fail you then you start to increase your chance of lower back pain as the stress hits that area as you bend.

Do Ab Rollers Work on Carpet?

While almost all videos and images always show someone on a smooth floor this is more due to the fact they are using them at a gym and not in their home.

When you use them at home you will have to use them on carpet for most people as this is the most standard flooring still in use. The answer is definitely they work on carpet as well as on a hardwood or tile floor.

Now you will see tread marks as you use them on carpet but this is not any long term damage and can be cleared up with just your hands after to redistribute the fibers of carpet.

How Often Should You Use the Ab Roller?

For the serious fitness buff this could be upwards of 5 times a week without issue since they aren’t a weighted workout you aren’t causing the same levels of damage that require you to take off time in between like on other workouts.

Do Ab Rollers Burn Belly Fat?

This answer is a no, definitely a no. The ab roller is specifically to work out your abdominals and to build strength and endurance in them. You can’t spot reduce body fat, regardless of what celebrities and “influencers” want to sell you on.

Learn to not eat back exercise calories, don’t get caught up in the “well I worked out so I now can have this doughnut, cupcake, whatever” this mindset sets you up to overeat.

Burning fat comes specifically from a caloric deficit which means you are burning more energy than you consumed. If you are continually eating more energy than you use you will only gain weight, this is why workouts fail some so catastrophically.

Final Thoughts on Do Ab Rollers Work

I have not used my ab roller as much as I could as I still have somewhat of a keg attached to my mid section, instead of trying to focus on building up the abs I am focusing on the kitchen and losing the flab.

I do take time to use the roller once a week, more for the endurance aspect and each time I am wanting to ensure I can do more than the previous time. If I can’t go longer then it means I need to add more in more often to keep up strength and not lose it.

Most people will quit on their goal when all it takes is a pivot of the mind and the approach, you want abs, that is super awesome. Instead of focusing on ab workouts alone you HAVE to dial in nutrition or you are on a treadmill to nowhere.

I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.